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Former Marquette County Airport Area of Interest (Negaunee Township, Marquette County)

EGLE Site Lead: Steve Harrington, HarringtonS@Michigan.gov or 906-458-3083. Webpage last updated June 24, 2021.

Background

The former Marquette County Airport was operated by Marquette County from 1937 until 1999, when the facility was sold to a private party who has not operated the site as an airport.  The former airport site is located on US Highway 41, approximately three miles northeast of Negaunee and approximately seven miles southwest of Marquette in the north-central portion of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  The former facility was comprised of approximately 849 acres of land. 

The former airport is primarily surrounded by undeveloped, sparsely wooded land, with limited commercial or industrial use along the southern edge of the property along US Highway 41.  Since the airport closed, residential development has occurred along roads to the north, east and western perimeters of the site. 

The former Marquette County Airport received PFAS grant funding in September 2020 from Michigan Department of Transportation. Prior to this grant no investigations into the presence or potential extent of PFAS occurred on this site.  Research indicates there may be five areas where AFFF was stored, used, or discharged at the former airport.  The five areas include the former fire training area, former fire, and rescue building, two former septic fields, and a possible former wastewater or storm water lagoon. 

Past studies of fuel and solvent releases at the former airport property indicate groundwater flows in different directions from this site:  toward the south/southeast from the central and eastern portions of the site and toward the west/southwest from the central and western portions of the site.  Additional investigation will occur to further delineate groundwater flow directions and determine if PFAS has migrated off-site. 

Recent sampling of surface water (drainage ditches and ponded water) on the airport property showed PFAS exceeding water quality standards.  More sampling during a wetter seasonal period will be done to determine potential impacts to off-site water courses. 

Former Marquette County Airport PFAS Sampling Area Map Former Marquette County Airport Sampling Area Map

Recent Accomplishments

  • On April 28, 2021, EGLE mailed 49 letters to addresses near the airport requesting access to sample private water supply wells.  During the week of May 17, a total of 33 water supplies were sampled, 30 of which were individual residential wells. 
  • During May of 2021, Marquette County's environmental consultant collected 9 surface water samples from the former airport property pursuant to an MDOT/EGLE-approved grant-funded work plan.  The results for 7 of those 9 samples exceeded the surface water quality criteria of 12 ppt for PFOS, with the highest reported concentration being 61.8 ppt at the historic fire training area.
  • On June 4, 2021, EGLE received the private well sample results. Ten of the 33 water supplies had detections, 8 of which were homes.  One of the homes exceeded drinking water criteria.  Eight homes were offered the installation of water filtration systems and one residence is currently receiving bottled water. 

Next Steps

  • Groundwater and soil sampling focused on certain historical airport operations areas (i.e., fire training area, fire and rescue building, two septic fields, possible wastewater or storm water lagoon) will commence in early July 2021.  This work is being performed under a grant issued by the Michigan Department of Transportation. 
  • Additional residential well sampling will occur in mid-July 2021.  This will include sampling at additional residences, as well as repeat sampling at certain residences to affirm results. 
  • Further evaluation of surface water bodies and drainage courses on and emanating from the former airport property will be conducted during a wetter seasonal period. 

Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information

  • During May 18 through 20, 2021, 30 residential wells were sampled near the former airport property.  PFAS was detected in 8 of the 30 homes.  Seven of eight homes with detections were below drinking water criteria.  One home had 190 ppt PFOS, which exceeds drinking water criteria (of 16 ppt). Filters were offered to each of the homes with a detection, and bottled water is being delivered to the homeowner whose sample was above criteria.  Additional residential well sampling will be conducted in mid-July, and more permanent water supply remedies will be evaluated. 

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • On June 24, 2021, MPART will host a town hall to provide information on site investigation, precautionary residential well sampling, and next steps.  For details on how to join the meeting visit Michigan.gov/PFASEvents page.

Sampling Results Summary

Type of Sample

Date Sampled (or Range)

Number of Sample Results Received

Number of Samples above Criteria*

Residential Wells

May 18 - 20, 2021 30 1
Surface Water May 2021 9 7

* Residential well and groundwater monitoring well results are compared to EGLE Part 201 criteria for 7 PFAS compounds effective 12/21/2020:  PFOS (16 ppt), PFOA (8 ppt), PFNA (6 ppt), PFHxS (51 ppt), PFHxA (400,000 ppt), PFBS (420 ppt), and HFPO-DA (370 ppt).
* Surface water samples are compared to Rule 57 non-drinking water values of 12 ppt for PFOS and 12,000 ppt for PFOA.

Sampling Notes

  • In addition to residential wells, 1 well serving an apartment complex was sampled and had very low levels of PFAS (well below criteria).  Also, two water supplies on the airport serving commercial businesses were sampled, one of which was non-detect and one of which had very low levels of PFAS (well below criteria).

Historical Timeline

  • None at this time